Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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PRIVACY (PRIVATE SECTOR) AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2009 (NO. 2) (SLI NO 326 OF 2009)

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Select Legislative Instrument 2009 No. 326

 

Issued by the Authority of the Cabinet Secretary

 

Privacy Act 1988

 

Privacy (Private Sector) Amendment Regulations 2009 (No. 2)

The Privacy Act 1988 (the Act) establishes, among other things, the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) which regulate the collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information by private sector organisations.

The purpose of the Regulations is to allow greater access to Centrelink records, in order to determine whether a person is entitled to receive a service or assistance.

NPP 7.2 provides that a private sector organisation must not use or disclose an identifier assigned to an individual by a Commonwealth agency, or by an agent or contracted service provider to that agency, except in specified circumstances. These include where the use or disclosure is by a prescribed organisation of a prescribed identifier in prescribed circumstances (paragraph (c) of NPP 7.2).

Subsection 100(1) of the Act provides that the Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with the Act, prescribing matters required or permitted by the Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act.

In determining the need for a Regulation under section 100 of the Act, Centrelink has consulted with the Privacy Commissioner and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Privacy Commissioner noted the request for regulations and did not raise any concerns. The Department supports the amending Regulations.

The Centrelink Customer Reference Number is an identifier for the purposes of NPP 7. The Privacy (Private Sector) Regulations 2001 prescribe as an exception to the prohibition in NPP 7.2, organisations permitted to use the Centrelink Customer Reference Number for the purpose of accessing the Centrelink Confirmation eServices.

Centrelinkís Confirmation eServices comprises three distinct services: Customer Confirmation; Income Confirmation; and Superannuation Confirmation. These amendment Regulations insert 16 additional organisations into the lists of prescribed organisations allowed to use and disclose the Centrelink Customer Reference Number for the purpose of making a Customer Confirmation or Income Confirmation enquiry.

The release of Centrelink customersí information through the Centrelink Confirmation eServices will only occur with the customerís consent. In addition, the use and disclosure of the Customer Reference Number by these private sector organisations is in each case for the benefit of the individual concerned. It removes the need for customers to go into a Centrelink office to obtain written proof of their eligibility and verification will occur on-line in real time, providing up to date eligibility information.

Details of the Regulations are set out in the Attachment.

The Regulations commenced on the day after they were registered.


ATTACHMENT

Privacy (Private Sector) Amendment Regulations 2009 (No. 2).

Regulation 1 describes how the Regulations are to be cited.

Regulation 2 provides that the Regulations commence on the day after they are registered.

Regulation 3 provides that the Privacy (Private Sector) Regulations 2001 (the Principal Regulations) are amended in accordance with Schedule 1 to the Regulations.

Schedule 1, Item 1 substitutes the list in Part 1 of Schedule 3 to the Principal Regulations.

The substituted Part 1 of Schedule 3 renumbers the listed organisations and includes four additional organisations as prescribed organisations that may use or disclose the Centrelink Customer Reference Number for the purpose of making a Customer Confirmation enquiry at items 1, 7, 29 and 32 of Schedule 3, Part 1.

Schedule 1, Item 2 substitutes the lists of organisations in Schedule 4 to the Principal Regulations.

The substituted Schedule 4 renumbers the listed organisations and includes 12 additional organisations as prescribed organisations that may use or disclose the Centrelink Customer Reference Number for the purpose of making an Income Confirmation enquiry at items 1, 28, 32, 59, 88, 92, 99, 168, 183, 187, 198 and 206 of Schedule 4.


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